Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Exploring Theravāda's connections to other paths - what can we learn from other traditions, religions and philosophies?
daveblack
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Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by daveblack » Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:55 am

Is it strange for someone who holds a sort of Theravada position (but with a soul) to completely oppose the blasphemy of the Lotus Sutra in saying Buddha told pretty lies for 40 years and then finally taught Mahayana on his death-bed. But to not oppose another Mahayana Sutra, like the Pureland Sutras that introduce the practice of the Nembutsu?

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SDC
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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by SDC » Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:05 am

I suppose not, but don't you think that puts a person in a direction away from discernment? What I mean is, that in laboring to identify corresponding scriptures or interpretations to what is preferred, wouldn't that leave someone subject to external justification instead of immediate verification?

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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by bhante dhamma » Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:33 am

" ..Yuzu Nembutsu (融通念仏宗 Yūzū-nenbutsu-shū) is a school of Pure Land Buddhism that focuses on the ritual recitation of the Nembutsu (or Nianfo), the name of the Amitabha Buddha. Followers believe this recitation benefits not just the speaker, but the entire world as well.." .....The entire world?

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Kim OHara
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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by Kim OHara » Wed Dec 04, 2019 8:55 am

bhante dhamma wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 3:33 am
" ..Yuzu Nembutsu (融通念仏宗 Yūzū-nenbutsu-shū) is a school of Pure Land Buddhism that focuses on the ritual recitation of the Nembutsu (or Nianfo), the name of the Amitabha Buddha. Followers believe this recitation benefits not just the speaker, but the entire world as well.." .....The entire world?
There are other groups who believe similar things, and the reasoning is that their practice permeates their social world and improves it - which is not at all silly. At its most basic, it claims that if my practice makes me a nicer person, my niceness encourages everyone I meet to become a nicer person (whether they practice or not) and their niceness, in turn spreads to others.
Works for me. :smile:

:namaste:
Kim

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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by Dhammanando » Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:47 am

daveblack wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:55 am
Is it strange for someone who holds a sort of Theravada position (but with a soul) to completely oppose the blasphemy of the Lotus Sutra in saying Buddha told pretty lies for 40 years and then finally taught Mahayana on his death-bed. But to not oppose another Mahayana Sutra, like the Pureland Sutras that introduce the practice of the Nembutsu?
Can you state what your reasons are for not regarding the Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtras with the same disdain as you have for the Saddharmapuṇḍarika Sūtra? Without knowing these I don't see how one could make any judgment as to whether your position is a strange one or not.

It wouldn't of course be a strange position for certain Japanese Buddhists to take, given the often ferocious historical rivalry between those sects which hold the Saddharmapuṇḍarika to be the Buddha's highest teaching and those which hold that only the Sukhāvatīvyūha is of any use in the present degenerate age. But since you've described yourself as "holding a sort of Theravada position" I guess your reasons wouldn't be quite the same as those of a follower of Hōnen or Shinran.
“Keep to your own pastures, bhikkhus, walk in the haunts where your fathers roamed.
If ye thus walk in them, Māra will find no lodgement, Māra will find no foothold.”
— Cakkavattisīhanāda Sutta

Dan74
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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by Dan74 » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:45 pm

Would it not be plausible to say that most written documents that have come down to us are corrupted to some extent? Would there not have been multiple pressures as well as So that the same scripture would contain precious teachings and sectarian polemics, useful pointers and legitimisation devices? Some may well come down from the Buddha and some may be later additions?

Incidentally, if someone is interested in actually finding out what is in the Lotus Sutra, but don't necessarily want to read the whole thing, here is a summary by a reputable, of not entirely sympathetic, academic:

https://www.lionsroar.com/what-happens- ... scripture/
Last edited by Dan74 on Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:01 pm, edited 2 times in total.
_/|\_

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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by sentinel » Wed Dec 04, 2019 12:53 pm

daveblack wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:55 am
Is it strange for someone who holds a sort of Theravada position (but with a soul) to completely oppose the blasphemy of the Lotus Sutra in saying Buddha told pretty lies for 40 years and then finally taught Mahayana on his death-bed. But to not oppose another Mahayana Sutra, like the Pureland Sutras that introduce the practice of the Nembutsu?
I would not called it a lies for an intermediary stage of teachings according to the lotus sutra .
What does the pureland sutra has to do with lotus sutra ?
Mr no.2

SteRo
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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by SteRo » Wed Dec 04, 2019 4:47 pm

daveblack wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:55 am
someone who holds a sort of Theravada position (but with a soul)
??
daveblack wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:55 am
the blasphemy of the Lotus Sutra ...
??

Disciple
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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by Disciple » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:27 pm

daveblack wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:55 am
Is it strange for someone who holds a sort of Theravada position (but with a soul) to completely oppose the blasphemy of the Lotus Sutra in saying Buddha told pretty lies for 40 years and then finally taught Mahayana on his death-bed. But to not oppose another Mahayana Sutra, like the Pureland Sutras that introduce the practice of the Nembutsu?
What do you like about the Nembutsu and the teachings of Honen and Shinran?

binocular
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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by binocular » Thu Dec 05, 2019 6:56 pm

daveblack wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:55 am
Is it strange for someone who holds a sort of Theravada position (but with a soul) to completely oppose the blasphemy of the Lotus Sutra in saying Buddha told pretty lies for 40 years and then finally taught Mahayana on his death-bed. But to not oppose another Mahayana Sutra, like the Pureland Sutras that introduce the practice of the Nembutsu?
Occham's Razor:
Possibly they don't oppose other Mahayana sutras for the simple reason that they aren't familiar enough with them, maybe they don't even know their name.

Occham's Razor, the second cut:
From the perspective of some Theravadans, the Pureland things are so far out that they don't even register in one's awareness as being problematic or anything.

daveblack
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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by daveblack » Fri Dec 06, 2019 2:50 pm

Dhammanando wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:47 am
daveblack wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:55 am
Is it strange for someone who holds a sort of Theravada position (but with a soul) to completely oppose the blasphemy of the Lotus Sutra in saying Buddha told pretty lies for 40 years and then finally taught Mahayana on his death-bed. But to not oppose another Mahayana Sutra, like the Pureland Sutras that introduce the practice of the Nembutsu?
Can you state what your reasons are for not regarding the Sukhāvatīvyūha Sūtras with the same disdain as you have for the Saddharmapuṇḍarika Sūtra? Without knowing these I don't see how one could make any judgment as to whether your position is a strange one or not.

It wouldn't of course be a strange position for certain Japanese Buddhists to take, given the often ferocious historical rivalry between those sects which hold the Saddharmapuṇḍarika to be the Buddha's highest teaching and those which hold that only the Sukhāvatīvyūha is of any use in the present degenerate age. But since you've described yourself as "holding a sort of Theravada position" I guess your reasons wouldn't be quite the same as those of a follower of Hōnen or Shinran.
That Sukhavati is comparable to non-returnership in Theravada, and therefore can be harmonized with it, whereas the teaching of the Lotus Sutra that arhantship is fake and nirvana is only "an apparitional city," and that telling people that arhantship and nirvana are real is done only as "expedient means" to trick people onto the bodhisattva path is certainly not.

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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:28 am

daveblack wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:55 am
Is it strange for someone who holds a sort of Theravada position (but with a soul) to completely oppose the blasphemy of the Lotus Sutra in saying Buddha told pretty lies for 40 years and then finally taught Mahayana on his death-bed. But to not oppose another Mahayana Sutra, like the Pureland Sutras that introduce the practice of the Nembutsu?
It's bizarre to hold "sort of" a Theravāda position "but with a soul," so whether or not you like the Pure Land sūtras more than the Lotus isn't an issue IMO.

Also I'm back. We'll see if I have the strength and stubbornness to stay here in this pit of Māra's stew, by which I mean the general internet.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by Coëmgenu » Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:35 am

Dhammanando wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 9:47 am
It wouldn't of course be a strange position for certain Japanese Buddhists to take, given the often ferocious historical rivalry between those sects which hold the Saddharmapuṇḍarika to be the Buddha's highest teaching and those which hold that only the Sukhāvatīvyūha is of any use in the present degenerate age. But since you've described yourself as "holding a sort of Theravada position" I guess your reasons wouldn't be quite the same as those of a follower of Hōnen or Shinran.
If you'll forgive me some elaboration on your points, bhante, Pure Land practitioners in Japan used to burn down non-Pure Land temples (śrāvaka and bodhisattva alike, as there was still a śrāvaka school extant in Japan during the beginning of the New Kamakura period), deface their statues, and destroy their artwork and scriptures. They took particular offence with the cosmic mudra, associated with the Śākyamuni of the Lotus Sūtra, and would chisel off the faces and hands of Śākyamuni statues in the temples they defaced. They would later hire artisans to carve new mudras and faces on the Buddharūpas they defaced, transforming them from Śākyamuni Buddha to Amitāyur Buddha, the idea being that Śākyamuni was the old and finished Buddha who's dispensation was defunct, and Amitāyur the new fancy shiny Buddha, whose dharma still shines in the degenerate age.
如無為,如是難見、不動、不屈、不死、無漏、覆蔭、洲渚、濟渡、依止、擁護、不流轉、離熾焰、離燒然、流通、清涼、微妙、安隱、無病、無所有、涅槃。
Like this is the uncreated, like this is that which is difficult to realize, with no moving, no bending, no dying. Utterly lacking secretions and smothered in the dark, it is the island shore. Where there is ferrying, it is the crossing. It is dependency's ceasing, it is the end of circulating transmissions. It is the exhaustion of the flame, it is the ending of the burning. Flowing openly, pure and cool, with secret subtlety, and calm occultation, lacking ailment, lacking owning, nirvāṇa.
Asaṁskṛtadharmasūtra, Sermon on the Uncreated Phenomenon, T99.224b7, Saṁyuktāgama 890

binocular
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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by binocular » Sat Dec 14, 2019 8:52 am

Oy vey!

daveblack
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Re: Is it strange to oppose the Lotus Sutra but be ok with the Pureland Sutras?

Post by daveblack » Mon Dec 16, 2019 11:57 pm

Coëmgenu wrote:
Sat Dec 14, 2019 7:28 am
daveblack wrote:
Wed Dec 04, 2019 1:55 am
Is it strange for someone who holds a sort of Theravada position (but with a soul) to completely oppose the blasphemy of the Lotus Sutra in saying Buddha told pretty lies for 40 years and then finally taught Mahayana on his death-bed. But to not oppose another Mahayana Sutra, like the Pureland Sutras that introduce the practice of the Nembutsu?
It's bizarre to hold "sort of" a Theravāda position "but with a soul," so whether or not you like the Pure Land sūtras more than the Lotus isn't an issue IMO.
Like the position of a Pratyeka-Buddha or Pacceka-Buddha as opposed to an arhant or other savaka who buys all the teachings taught in what is supposedly the dispensation of Gotama. The no soul theory is a new theory that they would not have heard of. It was not part of their enlightenment. They achieved enlightenment and went to nibbana while believing in a soul. After their time arose this questionable no soul theory. The dharma of the Pacceka-Buddhas and of Theravada differs primarily on this one point, whether the proper understanding of the self is that the body is not the self because the soul is or whether its that there is no self or soul at all. Lotus Sutra itself bears witness to this when viewing them as selfish people who only want to save their self, thus admitting they believed in a self.

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